It’s a fungi-eat-wolf-eat-elk-eat-grass world out there!
Today, students acted as ecologists – scientists who study the relationships among organisms and between organisms and their environment – as they learned about the energy pyramid and food webs. Students learned that all our energy on Earth comes from the Sun and about how this energy travels through different trophic levels of organism: producers (plants), lower-level consumers (herbivores), higher-level consumers (carnivores) and decomposers.
Working as a team, they then constructed a food web of the Yellowstone National Park ecosystem. While constructing their food webs, students were confronted with ecosystem disruptions. They were forced to adjust their food webs to the addition of a new species or the loss of a native species. Students learned that food webs are very complex, with many intertwined organism relationships and that adding or removing a single species can have far reaching consequences!
Dr. Sahr and Dr. Pearl